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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.The third Monday in January is a federal holiday in celebration of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Renowned civil rights leader and youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Dr. King was a proponent of nonviolent protest. For thirteen years, from 1956 until his assassination in 1968, he was the organizing force and principal voice of America’s civil rights movement.

Challenging racial injustices, Dr. King was a catalyst for transformative societal changes. The landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights act of 1965 are examples of his achievements. A riveting speaker, Dr. King’s speeches include: ” I Have a Dream,” “Eulogy for the Martyred Children,” “The Birth of a New Nation” and “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.”

Featured videos

Civil Rights: Historians Discuss Martin Luther King Jr.
In this documentary, PBS NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown speaks with civil rights author Nick Kotz and Roger Wilkins, history professor at George Mason University.

David Susskind Archive: Interview with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
David Susskind’s historical, long and intimate interview with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Originally aired on June 19, 1963 by WPIX-TV New York. Among the subjects discussed were the current state of the American Civil Rights Movement and the recent (at that time) events in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Historical Perspective
This documentary traces the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and the development of his non-violent philosophies over the course of the historic Civil Rights Movement. A political and social context drapes across the story of the African-American plight, determined to find an identity through the war at home and abroad.

Honoring Civil Rights Hero Medgar Evars
In this documentary, PBS NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown speaks with civil rights author Nick Kotz and Roger Wilkins, history professor at George Mason University.

I am not your Negro
An Oscar-nominated documentary narrated by Samuel L. Jackson explores the continued peril America faces from institutionalized racism.

Recommended reading

From Civil Rights to Human Rights Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice.
Drawing widely on published and unpublished archival sources, Jackson explains the contexts and meanings of King’s increasingly open call for “a radical redistribution of political and economic power” in American cities, the nation, and the world.

Stride toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story
This book describes the conditions of African Americans living in Alabama during the era, and chronicles the events and participant’s planning and thoughts about the boycott and its aftermath.

The Measure of a Man
In August 1958 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., preached two sermons, “What is Man?” and “The Dimensions of a Complete Life,” at the first National Conference on Christian Education of the United Church of Christ at Purdue University. In response to demands made by conference attendees, King allowed publication of the addresses. With King’s consent, the sermons were published by the Christian Education Press in a short book entitled, “The Measure of a Man.”

This Worldwide Struggle: Religion and the International Roots of the Civil Rights Movement
Azaransky’s research reveals fertile intersections of worldwide resistance movements, American racial politics, and interreligious exchanges that crossed literal borders and disciplinary boundaries, and underscores the role of religion in justice movements. Shedding new light on how international and interreligious encounters were integral to the greatest American social movement of the last century, This Worldwide Struggle confirms the relationship between moral reflection and democratic practice, and it contains vital lessons for movement building today.

Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?
n 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., isolated himself from the demands of the civil rights movement, rented a house in Jamaica with no telephone, and labored over his final manuscript. In this prophetic work, he lays out his thoughts, plans, and dreams for America’s future, including the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing, and quality education. With a universal message of hope that continues to resonate, King demanded an end to global suffering, asserting that humankind-for the first time-has the resources and technology to eradicate poverty.

Featured websites

The King Center
The meaning of the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday by Coretta Scott King.

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park
Find the places where Dr. King was born, lived, worked and worshipped.  There are historic buildings and several excellent exhibits on Dr. King and the civil rights movement.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute
From Stanford University, this site includes audio recordings of Dr. King.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Five Most Memorable Speeches (videos)
PBS features civil rights videos hosted by Washington Week.
Includes King’s Nobel lecture and acceptance speech when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Presidential Libraries (Podcast)
President Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr. discuss a range of societal issues.